Expert garden advice from the RHS: the grass beneath our beech trees is very sparse, what would you recommend?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...

Question: We have recently moved into our new home this January. We have two very tall beech trees in our front garden and the grass beneath is very sparse. Please can you advise? Ideally we would like there to be grass but I am open to all solutions that you may have.

Answer: If the area under your beech tree receives less than five hours of sun per day, you will struggle to encourage lawn to grow at all - even shade seed mixes. Large beech trees in full leaf can take away up to 95% light. There is simply not enough light for photosynthesis.

Instead, I advise enjoying the prospect of choosing, buying and planting groundcover for dry shade. Try to add plenty of organic matter - any well-rotted manure or anything labelled 'soil conditioner', to the soil. You will find digging difficult because of all the roots and may have to excavate planting pockets and improve the soil in these smaller areas. Plants to look at include Geranium macrorrhizum Album, Lamium maculatum Beacon Silver, Omphalodes cappadocica Cherry Ingram, Galium odoratum (woodruff) and Bergenia Silberlicht. 

Send your questions for the RHS to: expertgardeningadvice@gmail.com.

Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice.
 


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